Build a Resilient Business Using Supply Chain Automation

Marketing Team
Published on April 15, 2022

A supply chain focuses on the main processes required to turn raw materials or parts into finished products or services within our organization. The supply chain outlines all aspects of the manufacturing process, including the actions performed at each stage, information exchanged, natural resources converted into useful materials, human resources, and other components that go into the final product or service.

What is Supply Chain Management?

Supply chain management is the management of the whole flow of production, from raw products to end customers. A business establishes a network of suppliers ("links in the chain") to move products from raw material suppliers to organizations that deal directly with customers. 

It is the active management of supply chain activities to optimize customer value and maintain a competitive edge over time. It is a deliberate attempt by supply chain organizations to construct and run supply chains most effectively and efficiently feasible. Product development, sourcing, production, and logistics, as well as the information systems required to coordinate these activities, are all covered by supply chain activities.

Supply Chain Automation

The use of digital technologies to increase efficiencies, connect applications, and streamline supply chain processes is known as supply chain automation. Intelligent technologies including Digital Process Automation, Robotic Process Automation, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning are commonly used. Automation has enabled supply chain operations within businesses to do tasks with little or no human participation. Traditional supply chain systems featured independent phases with no visibility into other segments of the chain, whereas automation streamlines the supply chain from end to end, allowing all different pieces of the chain to be handled in unison. The supply chain is a part of the distribution industry.  As a Microsoft Dynamics partner for distribution industry, we can list several benefits of automating your supply chain, as listed below:

  • Decreased operating cost
  • Enhanced Productivity
  • Improved Accuracy
  • Integrating Large Suppliers

Importance of Supply Chain Automation

  • Automate Manual Tasks

Employees can be freed from these monotonous, manual activities thanks to a connected supply chain backed by automation technologies. Delivery orders, dock receipts, bills of lading (B/L), maritime waybills, and other papers are used in supply chain management operations. Employees in the supply chain department store process these documents regularly for various reasons, but it is a time-consuming, manual procedure that prevents firms from achieving operational excellence. Employees in the warehouse frequently do these operations using pen and paper, wasting time and resulting in human error while collecting and submitting data. Automation leads to increased efficiency - shown by increased fill rates and lower cycle times - as well as increased warehouse processing times, reduced labor and operational expenses, elimination of human error, and improved inventory management are all advantages of automation.

  • Improved Visibility of Operations

Traditional supply chains are infamous for having unexpected lead times and a lack of transparency around inventory status. Because of digital technology, even the average consumer is now accustomed to being able to track their online order from the warehouse to their front door. A low-code automation platform may connect all of your systems and establish a centralized area for your employees to access information, allowing you to see and orchestrate your processes in real-time. This gives employees real-time data, allowing them to get up-to-date status updates and act confidently when doing jobs that require critical information. Customers, as well as staff, can gain from transparency because they can immediately see how their order is proceeding through the supply chain. Customer satisfaction has become increasingly dependent on traceability, which a low-code automation platform can supply.

  • Minimizing human errors

With manual tasks, there come the chances of human error. There can a number of things going wrong while conducting tasks manually through various employees. Automation lowers the risk of human error and every little mistake like:

  • It can remove duplicate order records, thus minimizing confusion.
  • It reduces the chances of logging incorrect inventory data.
  • It can automatically update the progress of an order by tracking it.

What Supply Chain Processes can be Automated?

The supply chain is built with process-oriented tasks at every step, automating every step might not be necessary, to begin with. To make your operations easier and time-saving, you need to automate main three key processes:

  • Back Office

A huge portion of operations takes place behind the scenes in supply chain management. This entails obtaining papers such as delivery orders, recipes, and other bills, all of which must be manually sorted and documented before the manufacturing step can begin. The back-office process is time-consuming, involving manual tasks that set the tone for the whole supply chain. Automating this process can dramatically boost work speed and efficiency, resulting in end-to-end document automation. In this sector, automation will also significantly reduce human error, eliminating the possibility of missing or wrongly processed paperwork.

  • Transportation

Transportation can be automated in a variety of ways, but AI and multi-dimensional monitoring are two of the most useful ways. These solutions will offer you real-time tracking so that you know where your trucks are, what products are in transit, and when any possible delays occur. This will allow you to optimize the transfer of resources and products throughout your supply chain, lowering costs and speeding up delivery. Some companies have already begun to use self-driving vehicles, such as trucks and drones, to optimize transportation supplies inside their networks. These vehicles may not require drivers, giving you more flexibility when transporting items.

  • Warehouse

Warehouses in the supply chain are always moving, with things being added and deleted. Automating your warehouse can help you save money while also ensuring that you get the most out of your area. Supply and demand automation is one technique to automate where the system will track inventory changes automatically, allowing you to know exactly how many products are in stock and modify them accordingly. You can detect out-of-stock or stock-at-hand items faster with this knowledge, ensuring that your systems appropriately reflect your inventory at all times. Forecasting is another outstanding automotive technology. Forecasting is useful at many levels of the supply chain, but it is most useful when predicting demand. You'll have precise estimates of client orders based on historical data and industry patterns, allowing you to prepare inventory ahead of time and guarantee you have enough supply to satisfy demand. You might also think about putting automated vehicles and robots in your warehouse that work autonomously yet cooperatively with humans. This may free up team members to focus on more important initiatives by removing them from tough or time-consuming chores.

Conclusion

Proper visibility and automation enhance the agility and efficiency of your business processes. Evolve your supply chain processes into an intelligent workflow using AI and innovative technologies.  In the distribution industry, supply chain automation values every step of your manufacturing process and helps you to increase your ROI.